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Delta III rocket set for second launch

boeing rocket graphic

April 5, 1999
Web posted at: 3:18 p.m. EDT (1918 GMT)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (CNN) -- The Boeing Co. was scheduled to launch its second Delta III rocket Monday night on a mission that company officials hope will mark a comeback for its newest, high-capacity launch vehicle.

The 12-story rocket is scheduled for liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Station during a 69-minute launch window opening at 9:14 p.m. Spacecraft separation is to take place about 36 minutes after liftoff.

The rocket's maiden voyage in August ended in disaster when an oscillating roll overwhelmed its steering system, causing a loss of control and subsequent explosion shortly after liftoff.

The first Delta III rocket exploded on takeoff   

At that time, the commercial launcher was on a $225 million mission to place a Galaxy 10 communications satellite into orbit for PanAmSat Corp.

Monday night's payload is the Orion 3, a 4-ton satellite manufactured by Hughes Space and Communications for Loral Space & Communications. The Orion 3 will expand the C-band and Ku-band coverage area of Loral's satellite service fleet to include the entire Asia-Pacific region, including Korea, China, Japan, Australia, India, Southeast Asia, Oceania and Hawaii.

The Delta III is a three-stage launch vehicle with components and infrastructure similar to that used with the Delta II rocket, but with twice the payload capacity.

It is intended to compete against European Ariane and U.S. Lockheed Martin Corp. Atlas rockets for lucrative commercial launch contracts.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Hughes Space and Communications Company
The Boeing Company
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